YANGON — The Momauk Township court in Kachin State accepted a lawsuit against U Min Htay, a central committee member of the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF), under Article 17(1) of the Unlawful Associations Act on Monday.
U Min Htay was arrested on Dec. 28, 2016, when he was accused of helping the Kachin Independence Army and then detained in Momauk prison. The court heard 10 witnesses from the plaintiff’s side over six months. The last statement was given on July 10 by police captain and head of the Momauk police station U Khin Maung Htwe.
U Min Htay will give a statement to the court at his upcoming hearing on July 27, according to his wife Daw Nang Yin.
“The court has accepted the case. The judge asked him if he was guilty and he replied that he was not,” she told The Irrawaddy.
She said her husband had already told the court that he was innocent and had not assisted the KIA, as well as that he is a member of the ABSDF, which is a signatory to the government’s nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA).
U Min Htay, speaking to The Irrawaddy just after his court hearing, said the evidence in his case is insufficient but that it went ahead regardless, as he was arrested deliberately.
He urged his colleagues to consider their approach regarding his release and rule of law in the country.
“I should never have been charged in the first place. This is arbitrary detention. Despite the fact that the ABSDF is a signatory to the NCA, a central committee member is being charged with unlawful association. I want to call on my friends and colleagues to reconsider the NCA,” he said.
U Min Htay’s wife says he is in generally good health, other than having arthritis and severe headaches at times, but she worries about his mental health throughout this ordeal.